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In the aftermath of the PGA Tour merger with LIV Golf and the DP World Tour, many storylines continue to percolate. Perhaps one that no one saw coming: Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Adam Scott and Will Zalatoris coming to the strong defense of Patrick Cantlay.
USA Today golf writer Eamon Lynch wrote an article last week titled, “Jay Monahan’s retreat at least spares him the spectacle of Patrick Cantlay’s artless coup.”
In it, Lynch comes to the defense of PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan. Monahan, of course, came under fire for brokering a deal with LIV Golf after previously making very disparaging remarks about the Saudi-backed league.
The article starts with the line, “it’s impossible to not empathize some with Jay Monahan.”
Later, Lynch gets to the focal point of his ire on this particular day: Patrick Cantlay.
Eamon Lynch of USA Today attacks PGA Tour player Patrick Cantlay in vicious hit piece following LIV Golf merger
Patrick Cantlay, who carries himself with the assurance of a man convinced he’d be a partner at Goldman Sachs if he wasn’t merely sporting its logo on his cap, has been trying to rally players against the deal with the Saudis, and against members of the Tour’s policy board who architected or support it.
It hardly needs to be stated that his objections aren’t based on the morality of dealing with human rights abusers. Existing PGA Tour incentives won’t much benefit Cantlay. He won’t get rich from the Player Impact Program that bonuses stars on fan engagement since the only needle he moves is the gas gauge on his car. So the logic of Cantlay’s coup d’etat is that if LIV disappears as a threat — a likely occurrence under the deal — then players like him have no options, no leverage over the Tour, and no prospects for the lucrative payday to which they feel entitled.Eamon Lynch, USA Today
Lynch accuses Patrick Cantlay of previously trying to join the LIV Golf tour. He also slides in some personal jabs which lessens the impact of his accusations.
And fellow PGA Tour players Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Adam Scott and Will Zalatoris were having none of Lynch’s commentary.
Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Adam Scott and Will Zalatoris defend Cantlay
All four players posted an identical message to their social media platforms.
That’s a pretty strong message from four big names in the game of golf. Not only did they defend their fellow PGA Tour member, Cantlay, but there’s a shot at the Tour and Jay Monahan in there, too.
“Those players must be entitled to some time and information to decide what is palatable and what is not, after an about-face of Tour management policy,” the shared statement reads.
Clearly, the players are saying they are entitled to ponder options following the shocking merger. As SB Nation reported, Cantlay said prior to the US Open that he didn’t know “what was really going on.
“I was confused about what was really going on,” Cantlay said. “[Since I got] a lot of the information from the media and having just conflicted opinions and stories, I’m not really sure exactly what [was] going on.”
SB Nation also accurately points out that Cantlay sits on the PGA Tour’s Player Advisory Council. So, if someone like that didn’t know the details, it’s easy to imagine that most players are in the dark.
It’s fairly clear, also, that the players support one another. Certainly more than they support Monahan. Monahan is currently on a medical leave.
Lynch questions whether or not he returns at all. He probably won’t, given the beating he’s taking from players and much of the media.
Though, not from Eamon Lynch. Lynch appears happy to cape for Monahan in this particular situation. Patrick Cantlay got in the way, and Lynch couldn’t let that happen.
But the roadblock got bigger with Scott, Fowler, Thomas and Zalatoris joining.
Clearly, this merger is far from complete. So are the stories that are to come out of this uncertain situation.
Brace yourselves. We’ve got a long way to go.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on X – formerly known as Twitter: @RealDanZak